Top Flight Retention Figures
Top Flight is unique in being designed specifically to reduce this exodus of senior female executives from the workplace. Most executive leadership programmes are designed either by men, or for men, and so don’t tackle the fundamental issues that cause women to leave. Top Flight is different.
We are now in our 7th year, and some of the most senior women in the public and private sectors today are Top Flighters – such as Tamara Finklestein (Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and Jo Jenkins (CEO, White Stuff). To date, over 130 women have attended the Top Flight programme, and organisations that have placed women on it are seeing remarkable retention figures, as follows:
Year-on-year, the Top Flight retention rate after 12-months is on average 95%.
We create longevity of service, as most participants stay at the top of their organisation for a minimum of 4 more years after completing Top Flight.
63% of all Top Flight participants are still with their company.
53% of Top Flighters have been promoted.
50% of participants have moved into an Executive Committee or equivalent role.
12% have become CEO / Managing Director / Permanent Secretary.
Top Flight is muscular and designed to be undertaken whilst participants remain at work where they can incorporate their new-found knowledge into their day-to-day lives. Participants join us for one year, kicking off with a three-day session in January, and thereafter in March, May, July, September and November and are introduced to thought provoking group sessions led by inspirational business leaders. They also experience one-to-one coaching and career planning sessions. Top Flight is demonstrably successful with many participants achieving in-year promotions. We advise organisations to begin at this senior level because women will not strive for promotion or remain if they do not see other women making it to the top.
Participants are from FTSE 100 organisations or equivalent and are typically one or two roles below Executive Committee. This is an exceptional programme with a maximum of twenty-four participants across all sectors and functions creating a fantastic network for the long term. Typically, they work for large corporates in P&L and functional roles such as legal, marketing, finance, risk, financial crime, underwriting, HR, regulation, customer experience, digital and IT, as well as MDs of business units or heads of product lines. We also include two or three women from Whitehall who the Civil Service believes have the potential to become a Permanent Secretary.
Karen Blackett OBE
Country Manager, Mediacom
Karen Blackett has been in media for 22 years and is currently Chairwoman of MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK with billings over £1 billion. Prior to this, Karen was CEO for 5 years.
Karen has been instrumental not only in the success of MediaCom, but in championing diversity throughout the advertising and media industry. In 2012, Karen launched the first ever Government backed Apprentice Scheme for the sector, where the apprentices qualify for an NVQ in Marketing and Communications.
In June 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours. Karen has won the Women in Marketing (WIM) Outstanding Contribution to Marketing Award, featured 5 times in the Power List of Britain’s 100 Most Influential Black People (heading the list in 2015, the first business woman to do so), and has appeared in the Woman’s Hour Power List of Top 10 Influencers, and Marie Claire’s Women At The Top Awards.
Most recently, Karen has been appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service, and as a UKTI Business Ambassador for No 10. In March 2016, Karen became the President of NABS, the advertising industry charity which focuses on health and wellbeing in the workplace and presenting the business case for Diversity.
Baroness Martha Lane Fox
Co-Founder, Lastminute.com and NED, Twitter
Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, CBE, is a leading entrepreneur and champion of digital inclusion. Her initiative – Dot Everyone – is a charity fighting for a fairer internet and building a movement for responsible technology. Through this work, she aims to make Britain he most digital nation on the planet, by helping people understand, and take full advantage of, the transformative power of the Internet.
Martha worked for a year as business development manager of Carlton Communication’s initiatives in pay TV and digital channels before co-founding lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman. They floated the business in 2000 and she remained on the board until the company was purchased by Sabre Holdings in 2005 for £577 million. It is still Europe’s largest travel and leisure website.
Martha is also founder of the karaoke bar chain Lucky Voice, which currently has seven bars and a rapidly growing online community. She is also founder and Chair of Antigone.org.uk, her own grant giving foundation which supports charities involved with criminal justice, health and education.
From 2009-2013, she was the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion to help the British public become computer literate and to advise the government on how online public services delivery could help to provide better and more efficient services, as well as getting more people online.
Martha is a Non-Executive Director at Marks & Spencer plc, Channel 4 Television, Mydeco and chairs the board of the digital skills charity, Go ON UK. She joined the House of Lords as a crossbencher in 2013, becoming its youngest female member. Martha was also appointed as Chancellor of the Open University as of March 2014. Martha is a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law
Sir Jim O’Neill
British Economist & Former Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
From May 2015 to September 2016, Jim was Commercial Secretary to HM Treasury and during this time chaired a formal Review into AMR (antimicrobial resistance) publishing their final recommendations in May 2015, helping drive HM Government’s strategy as well as providing key input to the United Nations in this field.
Until October 2014, Jim chaired the Cities Growth Commission in the UK, when it provided its final recommendations, which formed the basis for the government’s approach to devolution and the concept of the Northern Powerhouse. Jim is a Board member of The Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
He is Honorary Chair of Economics at Manchester University. Jim, creator of the acronym “BRIC”, worked for Goldman Sachs from 1995 until April 2013, spending most of his time there as Chief Economist.
He is a board member and a founding trustee of the UK educational charity, SHINE, and became lifetime President. Jim has served on the boards of a number of educational foundations.
Chairman, EG Group
Stuart Rose has spent all his career in retail joining Marks & Spencer plc in 1971. He left to join the Burton Group in 1989, becoming a director in 1993. Following the Group’s demerger in 1997, he became Chief Executive of Argos plc during the bid by GUS. In 1998, he became Chief Executive of Booker plc which was merged with the Iceland Group in 2000. He then became Chief Executive of Arcadia Group plc in November 2000 and left in December 2002 following its sale to Sir Philip Green. He was named Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer plc in May 2004 and became Chairman in 2008, standing down in January 2011. He was Chairman of The British Fashion Council from 2004 – 2008, Chairman of Business in the Community from 2008 – 2010 and a Non-Executive Director of Land Securities from 2003-2013. He was Chairman of Ocado until 2020, and is now Chairman of EG Group, Fat Face, Oasis Healthcare Group and a Non-Executive Director of Woolworths (South Africa). He is also Chairman of The Healing Foundation, a medical charity.
Stuart was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility and made a life peer in September 2014.
Benefits for Organisations
Better business results with greater gender diversity
Increased female retention through better all-round relationships
Rapid promotion with stronger, more confident women
Improved organisational performance as participants apply insights gained from contributors and peers
Positions your organisation as more attractive to millennials and Generation Z who seek greater gender diversity
Wider pool of female role models to inspire and sponsor more junior women
Benefits for Participants
Unrivalled faculty in an intimate setting with access to FTSE 100 CEOs, Chairs and other high achievers
Unique mix of rigorous research, practical application and personalised roadmaps
Led by women with successful careers bringing their experience of how to overcome the barriers women face
Establishment of great network and ongoing support to sustain new behaviours
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